Three Reasons Why Alcoholics and Addicts Take So Long To Hit Bottom?

If you are someone who has had to live with and suffer through watching a family member drink and drug themselves to near death in order to get treatment, nothing in life is worse. Our friends and family who once were vibrant, reliable, friendly and responsible people now show definite signs of addiction by way of terrible follow through, unending excuses, loss of interest in life and long absences.

If the news broadcasts and stories from neighbors, schoolteachers, college dorm RAs, virtually anyone who connects with anyone else, are true, and they are, why does it take so long for these people to reach out for help?

The following three reasons for such a delay in a person hitting their emotional, physical and mental bottom in addiction seems absurd but they are not.

1. Denial

Anyone who is in addiction or facing the possibility of having to change their way of coping will deny that they are that bad. Often does the family hear, “I’m not as bad as Tom down the street.” Or “I only had two.” That is the most famous line of any heavy drinker who tries to convince their spouse or parents they are not.

Along with addiction comes the perennial lying, cheating and stealing affecting anyone in his or her path. This is where the denial of those very parents or spouses who want so desperately to believe what is being said.

Every human being in one form or another uses denial. This is one of the facts of life. What about the person in an abusive relationship? How long does it take for that person to leave their abuser? As long as it takes to hit a very bad bottom of years of torment.

Denial is not just for the addict/alcoholics.

Also is denial are the people who are physically addicted to sugar and have to stay away from processed sugar. How long does it take for the person with diabetes, who loves their donuts, cakes and milkshakes, to begin to learn to stay away from those things that bring the person dangerously close to a diabetic coma or high blood pressure? It is denial that operates in each one of us that leads us to hit our own bottom in order to make a change that will bring about the transformation needed to sustain our health and welfare.


Who hasn’t blamed someone else for our life circumstances? Most of us start in adolescence by blaming our parents or siblings for why we struggle in school, with relationships or for any reason at all. Someone else has to be to blame! None of what happens to us seems to be of our own making. Rarely do we look within ourselves, pretty much throughout our entire lives, to see what part we play in the things going on in our lives.

However, blaming takes a dangerous turn when our very lives and the lives of those around us are impacted by wasting time in the “blame game”. What happens when the young children of an alcoholic or addict must watch and suffer through the hell of waiting and wondering what mood that parent will be in when they come home, if they come home. When that person who struggles with addiction blames his wife, her husband, their teenagers, their work, the weather, the state of the nation or any other meaningless reason to divert attention away from them and the real issues.

Blaming goes on in every part of our lives. We hear it when we are very little and that is where we learn how to be blamers. “It’s your fault not mine”, has been handed down through the generations easier than, “I think I know my part in why this is happening.” Finding our part in family issues is one of the hardest things in life to admit to.

So we know that blaming is not just in the words of the addict/alcoholic. We all must pay attention to what we do with our own actions and interactions. If we see it in our children, they saw it in us.


Once an addict or alcoholic starts to experience consequences the radar goes up for everyone to see that something must be done. The teens that are caught in school with weed or paraphernalia must have an evaluation with a drug and alcohol specialist and seek some kind of treatment. Denial and blaming are prevalent during this stage. Someone who gets a DUI has to go through similar processes.

The most dangerous of behaviors at these times of opportunity to take action is waiting. “I have time to take care of that, I don’t need to get help yet.” “What’s the rush?!”

Waiting for the right time to do the things to get help for others and us brings about these situations getting worse.

If we wait for a better time to work on or change any of the problems in our life, things get worse never better.

In conclusion, take a look around the life you are in. Do you want things to be different than they are? We cannot force anyone else to get the help they need. But, we do not have to sit around deny it’s happening to us. We can find help for ourselves if not for another person. We can be a role model if nothing else.

With one finger pointing at another we blame them for our trials and failures. Rather, look for our own accountability in why things are happening in the family. What can we do better next time, how do I participate in the reason these things are happening?

Never, never wait for the right time to make a change. There is no time better than now, than today.

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© 2016 by Debra Whittam. All Rights Reserved